Music Has No Bars

Music Has No Bars

I had a reminder from Roger Montgomery, this year’s examiner from The Guildhall School of Music & Drama, about a forthcoming TV programme featuring his daughter, Ruth. Despite being diagnosed as deaf at the age of three, Ruth pursued her interest in music, becoming a flautist and instrumental teacher.

The programme, entitled See Hear, features her trip to St. Petersburg to play a flute concerto with a local orchestra and will be broadcast in two parts Saturdays – 20th and 27th at 12:00 on BBC2.

www.bbc.co.uk/seehear/video to see a video preview of these programmes under the title Music Has No Bars

The New Higher

Recent changes to Higher Music mean that pupils are allowed to offer:

  1. pieces from the list of suggested works for each instrument published by the SQA
  2. any piece from the appropriate grade of any of the exam boards in the UK – including past syllabuses
  3. other pieces submitted in advance by the instructor to the SQA for approval

There exists some duplication in the third option for instructors who work in many secondary schools – but with good reason. Continue reading The New Higher

No Bell Prize

“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.” Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826); 3rd president of US.

The structure of the school day is about to change in Knox and North Berwick High. What will this mean for instrumental pupils? The new six-period day, each lasting one hour will, for us, be the 12-lesson day, each lasting 30 minutes. Pupils will have to keep one eye on their watch (no change there, then) Continue reading No Bell Prize

Confucian Counting

“Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I will learn. Involve me and I will understand.”
Confucius (551 BC – 479 BC); Chinese philosopher & reformer.

Any playing in a group lesson has to be “counted in” to ensure that everyone begins at the same time and at the right speed. Pupils don’t always focus with all their might and a restart can take up limited time. One way to reel them in is to Continue reading Confucian Counting

Time for a new diet

I received some good news recently in the form of external guitar exam results – 2 passes, 5 merits & 5 honours. The grades ranged from one to six. Sadly, this marks the end of a lengthy relationship with the Guildhall School of Music & Drama as their syllabus expires this year. They have merged with Trinity College and a new joint syllabus is soon to emerge. It is not certain that the specialist examiner policy will be retained. All will be revealed in mid-June at a workshop in Edinburgh.

If anything is to be learned from the recent diet of exams it is Continue reading Time for a new diet

First entry

An interesting time to start a blog. The SQA practical exams and external “grade” exams are over; fewer and fewer schools put on a summer concert – so lunchtime rehearsals are on the retreat; many of the senior pupils are currently on exam leave. What do we do all day? Well, mainly crosswords and sudoku – but not back to back, as we’d have nothing to do in the afternoon.

On days where there is nothing pressing to report, I’ll go into the many non-contact aspects of the job which blossom at this time of year.

I’m not sure who, if anyone, will read this blog and I’m aware that a different register would be better for the many different areas of expertise – instrumental instructors; classroom music teachers; other subject teachers; educationalists in general, parents and occasional visitors to the site. I hope it makes some sense, and may be of some use, to anyone who chances upon it.

What's life like for an instrumental instructor in East Lothian?